EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The sale of big ticket items through personal selling is never easy.

When you buy a tube of toothpaste, a pack of chewing gum, or a box of #2 pencils, hopefully you don’t spend a lot of time either thinking about it, or fussing over the details. But, when it comes to buying something like a car, a boat or a house, the devil is in the details.

Each of us at this point in our careers is a big ticket item. For any application of our talents, we are just as likely to have too many “buy points” as not enough.

Lots of “objections” are raised during an interview process these days. Some of them are serious objections, other are merely the application of the technique I call “The excuse you can’t cure.”

Comments like “If only you had a CPA,” or “You don’t have industry experience,” usually come at a point in the conversation when it is actually too late for you to do anything to change the “hiring authority’s” mind. Although I know it is “always about you,” consider the plight of the poor person assigned to tell you the answer is no. What exactly are they going to tell you that is truthful enough that you will believe them, but yet won’t cause the company to be sued?

By the way, these are comments that you should put out of your mind immediately after leaving their offices as they are of no relevance with respect to your employability.

Your goal is to always make an attempt to broach potential “customer objections” before the dreaded “excuse you can’t cure” is played upon you, because at that point it is too late.

If, for example, you are interviewing for a job that per the job specifications requires a CPA, ask yourself if it is really a requirement or perhaps something that was added by someone not knowledgeable about the real job requirements. It might also have been added to cull down the number of candidates. You have to be careful how you raise this point, but Marty Latman, Chairman of our Bergen, NJ chapter, suggests that if it is a privately held company that isn’t planning to go public any time soon, you can make the argument that having an active CPA license isn’t really essential. You have to be polite when you challenge someone’s assumptions in an interview, but if you feel you have already pretty much made a sale, have at it.

The other major “customer objection” I often hear is lack of industry experience. We all know that accounting skills transcend industry. The only problem is that much of the world doesn’t believe it. My suggested approach is to mention at some point early in the process that one of the attractions of this job to you is the opportunity to learn a new industry. In this way, you can turn a problem in your background into your biggest “product” advantage. Again, this assumes you are well on your way to making a sale.

Here is another opportunity to share our knowledge and experience. Those of you who have ideas to share on this topic should send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will publish them under our Notes from Members section.

Regards, Matt

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